Monday, June 15, 2009

Brined and beered chicken

Wanted: Brine for chicken. Must add delicious flavor to meat with a touch of lemon flavor.

I am trying to master a brine with lemons off my tree. I love lemon with chicken, I think it's a great combo. I adore using a brine with meat. My family has used a brine on turkey for Thanksgiving for years now, and I refuse to acknowledge any other way to make a turkey. There is no other way. Period.

So brine on chicken for the grill? Makes perfect sense. And Beer Can chicken with a brine(d?) chicken just makes sense. So this morning I dropped a chicken into some brine, let it hang out for about 6 hours, then we grilled it up.

Unfortunately, no noticeable lemon flavor. Still a good brine, and the beer, as always, kept that chicken moist.

Along side I grilled up some purple asparagus and made a cucumber tomato salad with the first cuke out of my garden.

He was a handsome and tasty little fellow, especially when paired with some heirloom tomatoes. (Still not from my garden. Boo! Come on tomatoes!)

Purple asparagus is really good, it has a milder taste then green, and more flavor than white asparagus. It isn't that I don't like white asparagus, I just think it doesn't taste green.

All in all, a delicious dinner. Brine/chicken recipe below!

My Beer Can chicken

For Brine:

1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup salt
1/2 cup fresh herbs of your choice, coarsely chopped (I used parsley and sage)
3 cups water
Juice of six lemons

Combine salt, sugar and herbs with water in small saucepan on stove top. Bring to slight simmer to allow the sugar and salt to dissolve and to incorporate the flavor of the herbs. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and allow to cool completely. If you are in a hurry, you can use half the water to dissolve the salt and sugar and add the remainder in cold at the end to bring the temp down faster. Ice cubes also help, just don't over do it or you will dilute the brine.

Pour over a whole chicken in a ziplock bag and allow to sit for at least 4 hours, more is always better. (I've been known to let Turkey sit in a brine for 3 days).

When ready to cook, preheat grill to about 700 degrees. If using a gas grill, start with all burners on, if using charcol, distribute coals for indirect heat.

Remove chicken from brine and pat dry. Using a can of beer of your choice, open beer and remove about 1/3 to 1/2 of the can and place chicken on top of can.
Grill at top temp for about 15 minutes (or directly over coals) then turn off burners as needed for indirect heat (or shift chicken away from direct heat) and finish cooking for 35-45 minutes, until juices run clear or a meat thermometer reads about 160 degrees in thickest part of the breast. (The temp on my grill read about 400 degrees for the remainder of cooking)

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